Monday, November 28, 2022

MI Google

Earlier this month I got to spend the day at the Michigan Google Conference. It's been on hiatus for the past few years because of COVID, and I'm so glad it's back!

In general, I'm quite a PD junkie, and I love attending just about any Professional Development I can, virtual or in person. I'm grateful that I'm able to attend so many different PDs whenever I find any that catch my attention, and strongly encourage any educator to attend whenever they are given the opportunity!

MI Google is one of my favorites because it's on the smaller side (200ish attendees) vs our big MACUL Conference (3500ish attendees) vs the huge ISTE Conference (10000ish attendees). I like the size because you can connect directly with the presenters after they finish a session. I know that I love connecting with those who attend my sessions to be able to discuss a concept brought up, answer any questions, and so on.

This year, I presented a session on Google Slides, which is one of (in my humble opinion) Google's most versatile tools. I had a nice size attendance, too, with 18ish people in the session. I like being able to answer questions throughout the presentation, and this group was just the right size for that.

PD, or at least good PD is a gift for all educators. It doesn't have to be a massive conference, it doesn't have to be a conference at all, to learn and become re-inspired! (And if you have the chance to go to an EdCamp, don't miss it!) Some of the best learning I've experienced as an educator is through workshops provided by my local ISD. The bottom line is that when given the chance to go, despite the groans of writing sub plans, if there is something of interest to you, do it. You'll grow as an educator and as a person, and let's face it, that change of scenery, even for one day, is always a treat!


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Chattering via Chatterpix

I know this may be an older app, but Duck Duck Moose's Chatterpix Kids is still one of my favorites, and year after year, I never get tired of introducing it to kids! (And their teachers, for that matter!)

Our second grades complete a Thanksgiving persuasive writing project each November, the fairly popular one where they disguise a turkey so it survives the holiday feast. A few years ago, we decided to add in a technology component, where they use Chatterpix Kids to make their turkeys "talk." This year, I got smart. I had the kids do a practice Chatterpix, going from start (taking the picture, making the turkey talk) to finish (uploading it to Seesaw) and what a difference that made!

To give them something consistent to use for practice, I brought our own school logo to life! It's amazing what a pair of eyes and a mouth does to an inanimate object! We practiced holding the iPad properly so that it only showed the paper in the background (no carpet!) and we practice speaking loudly, clearly, and slowly so that the mouth had lots of movement!

Past experience has shown that when we practice at this level, the actual project works much smoother. We'll have to wait and see!

Monday, November 7, 2022

CospacesEDU in SPACE!

We've played around with CoSpacesEDU many times over the past few years. The 7th graders have been doing a very cool project that involves recreating a capital city, and we've dabbled in other areas, too.

But this is by far the coolest project we've done thus far!

6th graders spend a good deal of time exploring space. They dive into gravity, seasons, weather, planets, and a ton more. We decided to take a risk and really dive into space using CoSpacesEDU AND ClassVR.

What does that look like?

6th grade students created their own space exploration where they had to teach a concept or two from the unit. Even better, we're going to be exploring those Space(s) on the ClassVR headsets! They got super creative, too. One group created a roller coaster for each planet. Several groups have sounds playing in the background to add ambience. One group brought in a rocket launcher (virtually) that blasts the project off into space, literally!

I am not well versed in CoSpacesEDU, not embarrassed to admit that. I am pretty solid with the basics of navigating and coding the spaces, but the nuances, eh, I leave those to the kids. And this group took things to a whole new level. They took the basic lessons I gave them and wow! 

I'm super excited for the headset viewing party where they'll experience each other's world's in virtual reality. The headsets should be ready soon!